HC Deb 17 October 1975 vol 897 c850W
Mr. Michael Latham

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food by what percentage the dairy herd has declined in each of the last five months; to what factors he attributes this; and what action he is taking to reverse the trend.

Mr. Bishop

There are no figures showing the size of the dairy herd on a monthly basis. Census data for March and June 1975 indicated a United Kingdom dairy herd of 3,294,000 and 3,231,000 respectively, representing declines of 4 per cent. and 4.8 per cent. compared with the same date in the previous year. Because of seasonal fluctuations a comparison of the two figures for 1975 would not be meaningful.

Developments in the dairy sector depend on many factors, including the level of producers' returns.

I would refer the hon. Member to the statement made by my right hon. Friend on 15th October—[Vol. 897, c. 1360–71.]—about the action taken to increase the guaranteed price for milk which is worth about £50 million in a full year to our milk producers.